Friday, December 14, 2012

F13:TS 25 - Faith Healer


Episode Recap #12: Faith Healer

Original Airdate: February 13, 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Miguel Fernandes as Stewart Fishoff
Robert A. Silverman as Jerry Scott
John Bethune as Man in Wheelchair
Lynne Gorman as Sylvia
Eddie Roy as Joey Lessing
Robert King as Faith Healer

Written by Christine Cornish
Directed by David Cronenberg


Can I mention, before we get into the recap, how much I love the opening of the show? Love the mini-tour of the antiques, wish we had seen some of these as cursed antiques in the show!

We open at a faith healer gathering. An old woman pushes a younger man in a wheelchair into the center of the room. The faith healer talks about the man's plight, the man is blind, supposedly. The faith healer says medicine couldn't heal the man, but he can. He lays his hand on the man's head and asks the group to help him heal the man. Suddenly, some one shouts from the group that they don't believe and says the faith healer is a fraud and is basically committing a crime. The faith healer, Stewart Fishoff, says the man is a liar and a drunk. The man, Jerry Scott, is unfazed and quizzes the blind man about what he can see. The man insists he is blind, but Scott walks over and places his hand on the man's head and proceeds to slide the fake contact lenses out of his eyes, showing the cataracts are fake. Fishoff slips out while the group is distracted.

Surprised anyone buys this malarkey!

Escaping down the fire escape, Fishoff encounters a man in a wheelchair who calls him and phony and tries to chase after him. Round a corner, he is accosted again by a group eager for vengeance. He runs and falls into trash in an alley. There, he spots a white, leather glove. He feels compelled to touch it and he puts it on his hand. The glove feels powerful to him, but he hit in the head with a crutch by a diseased woman. She says he promised to heal her but all he did was steal all her money. She goes to strike again, but falls. As she does, he places his gloved hand on her face. She reacts by moaning, but then stands on her own. She can walk and her face is free of disease. The glove has cured her. Fishoff is astonished, but takes off before she can speak to him.

This woman is cured and is never seen again.
How many were cured and unaware their health came from Satan?

Soon, Fishoff finds the glove mutating and passing the woman's diseases on to him. In pain, he stumbles along and a cop comes over to offer help. Fishoff places his gloved hand onto the cop's faces and passes the disease to him. The cop dies horribly, but Fishoff is healthy again, the glove white and perfect.

At Curious Goods six months later, Micki and Ryan try to get the television set to work and when it does it only gets in one station, which happens to be airing the new show of Fishoff, now a successful, religious faith healer. Jack comes in and notices the glove Fishoff places on his hand. He goes and scans the manifest, finding the item listed as The Sforza Glove. Jack said it was an item he obtained, it was from the time of DaVinci. It was supposed to provide good health for the ruling families that owned it. Jack wonders what the cost is for the healing it offers now.

Micki shows off her university knowledge to an impressed Jack.

Outside the studio the faith healer's show is taped, Micki and Ryan wait for Jack, who is quickly thrown out of the building, his lock-pick kit ruined in the process. Jack tells them to keep an eye on the entrance and watch for Fishoff, he goes off to find another way inside. Soon, they see Fishoff leave by the back fire escape and follow him. They lose him, so they split up.

A woman is walking her small dog and it gets away from her. She runs after it. Fishoff grabs the animal's leash and holds it out for the lady. When she reaches for it he places his diseased gloved hand onto hers and she is soon racked with horrible pain and disfigurement. She dies as the glove returns to normal. Ryan and Micki meet up and see the whining dog. They follow it and find the dead woman.

Back at the store, the three of them discuss the events, Jack figuring out how the curse works. Jack says they need help getting close to Fishoff and remembers someone who can help, but he needs to see this man alone, seems he is peculiar.

Comforting each other after the horrible find in the alley.
Love Ryan's arm on her shoulder,
but Micki's arm on the back of the couch.

At the docks, Jack stops at a ship and heads inside. The man who lives on the ship is Jerry Scott, an old friend of Jack's, who happens to be a "professional" debunker of faith healers. Jerry says he has exposed about 400 faith healers in 20 years of work, none every proving to be the real thing. Jack says Scott just never came across a real one. Jack asks for help with Fishoff, but Scott says he broke him six months ago. Jack says he's back and Scott says he knows, but doesn't see how matters, he is a fraud. Jack says that, yes, Fishoff himself is a fraud, but the item he has, the glove, allows him to actually heal people. For the sake of argument, Scott asks what harm there is if the glove is real? Jack says there is a nasty side effect to the healing the glove offers. Scott has a hard time believing Jack, but asks what he wants his old friend to do.

Jack would have a friend who lives on a giant ship like this!

Back at the studio, Fishoff meets with Scott, who says he is impressed with the recent success the faith healer has had. Jerry challenges  him to prove that he is actually able to heal people now. Fishoff asks why he should prove it. Scott says he is just greedy, a fraud and a hypocrite. He says he will break him, again, and this time he will stay broken. Fishoff accepts his challenge.

Did Silverman always play creepy guys?

Later, back in Jerry's home on the ship, he tells Jack about his meeting with Fishoff. Jack asks if he arranged for a patient for the challenge. Jerry says yes, someone who is terminally ill. Jack asks why he would do that. Scott says the person will die, but Jack says they can't let Fishoff actually heal anyone, cause then someone else will have to die. Scott says Jack has no say in this anymore, if he wants the glove, he'll get the glove. He then proceeds to show Jack his chest, covered with horrible sores. He is the one dying, he will be Fishoff's patient. Jack tries to dissuade his old friend, but Scott won't listen and pulls a gun on Jack. He comments how, after all the years he's spent debunking them, it will be a faith healer who saves him.

Back at the store, Micki is impatient waiting to hear from Jack. Ryan says he is worried, too, but Jack can handle it and he isn't alone, he's with his friend. Micki reminds him that Jack said this friend is peculiar.

Jerry has Jack tied up so he can't stop him from getting Fishoff to heal him. He locks Jack in a store room. Fishoff arrives at the ship with his bodyguard, who waits on deck. Going below, Fishoff asks where the patient is. Scott asks if he brought the glove. Fishoff asks why he is asking about the glove and Scott says it is part of what he does when he heals, isn't it? Fishoff agrees and says he has it. Scott then says that he himself is the patient. The faith healer thinks it is a joke, at first, but then takes some glee in the fact that, after all the pain Scott has caused him, he now has his life in his hands.

With friends like these, Jack...

Micki is pacing at the store, asking Ryan what time it is now. Ryan says it is late and they need to find Jack, something must have gone wrong. He finds Jack's address book with Jerry's information.

Fishoff acts as if he is going to heal Jerry, getting the man to say that he believes in him. He places his non-gloved hand on his head and says he is healed. But Jerry feels no different. Fishoff says he must have used the wrong hand. Maybe next time, he says, pocketing the glove and getting ready to leave. Jerry pulls his gun, threatening to kill him. He fires a warning shot, which brings the bodyguard in. Scott shoots and kills the man. Fishoff escapes. Scott rushes after him, shooting him several times before Fishoff can get into his vehicle. Desperate and dying, Fishoff places the glove on his wounds and drives off. But he soon crashes, his car becoming wedged in, trapping him inside.

Another simple, innocent, yet extremely powerful antique.

The glove has healed him of the bullet wounds, but he must now touch another or the glove will kill him as payment. Scott arrives and see the man trapped, but just sits and laughs as Fishoff asks for help. Fishoff is suddenly riddled with gunshots again, the glove returning what it had just saved him from. Jerry then slides the glove off the dead man's hand.

Back at the ship, glove on one hand, gun in the other, he opens the store room door. Jack is there, only just then having gotten himself loose. Scott tells Jack that Fishoff is dead. He says he can now use the glove to heal himself, but he'll need Jack to transfer the disease to and orders his friend out of the closet at gun point. Sitting, he slides the glove under his shirt, enacting the curse.

Micki and Ryan arrive and see their vehicle and know Jack is aboard. Inside, Scott pulls the glove out of his shirt, showing Jack it is now riddled with his disease. Jack struggles to keep his old friend from placing the glove on him and, in the struggle, Jack forces the glove back onto Jerry's face. Scott has his disease back, only this time it is magnified and kills him, but not before he asks Jack to pray for him. Micki and Ryan arrive and witness this sad end.

Zoinks. Should have left well enough alone, Jerry.

Later, at Curious Goods, Micki asks Jack about a cape in the manifest. Jack barely listens, still angry over the fact that his old friend just tried to kill him. He laments what his friends have done to him, including Lewis. Micki asks if he wants to leave the store and Jack says yes, but he can't, cause she and Ryan need him. Micki says she understands, but they have all given up stuff to do this job and if all they are is a liability to him, then maybe he'd be better off. Ryan interrupts as the argument grows, reminding Micki that Jack just lost a friend and reminding Jack that he is not alone, that they are his friends. He then says to keep it down, he has a head cold. Jack and Micki offer two different remedies and want to have a contest to see whose remedy cures Ryan. If he dies, though, all bets are off. Ryan heads to bed.

Ryan, peace-maker.


My thoughts:

A great episode with quite a straight-forward but immensely powerful cursed item. The power to heal anyone of anything is quite intoxicating, but then, someone always has to pay that price.

Love the scenes of Jack with his old friend, played so creepily by Robert A. Silverman. Desperate men go to desperate lengths, friends be damned.

On that note, I love that we get to see Jack, usually the voice of reason, speak his mind and vent his frustrations over having his friends betray him and his life always in jeopardy having to get the cursed items back, items he brought to Lewis as a friend. Good to see that side, since Jack is human, too, after all.

The little spat with Micki is needed, to show the frustration they all have. Ryan mending the rift, while ill, is also great. And the little bit about seeing whether magic or medicine can cure him is fun, too!

Just a great episode! Cronenberg does a great job directing and the special effects on the victims are horribly gruesome, fitting for what the glove does to them.

Love the mention of the cape by Micki, too, leading into next week's adventure!

Next week: "The Baron's Bride"

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